When Kal was called in, I began to get antsy. It wasn’t that I was afraid, more that I just wanted to get the whole ordeal over with. As I had grown with age, I had lost most of my fears. I tuned out, humming some old song that I remembered from when I was a child. Suddenly, it was my name being called.
“Annella Stewart,” The Professor’s voice rang out and I practically jumped out of my seat. My powers would be confirmed, right now. If they were there, anyways. I went on forward and the professor stopped me before I went through the door.
“It’s only a room, and you just have to cross it.” She whispered.
I only nodded and continued forward. When I opened the door, it slammed itself behind me. The first thing I had seen was the large crowd of people. There wasn’t anything special about these people, persay, some of them were commons, some mages, some halfborns. They were only people, yet I felt the anxiety rising up in my chest. My lungs began to burn and I felt the panic attack coming. Think, I had to think.
This isn’t real, I thought, Elle, you’re fine, this isn’t real.
The panic stopped rising. This. Wasn’t. Real.
In the crowd of people, I was startled by the sound of yelling. The odd part was… I recognized the sound of it. I knew who was yelling. It was my father and mother.
They were yelling, arguing, just like I remembered at home. Only this time, I could tell it was different. Something in the air, call it intuition, something wasn’t right. I realized too late what was wrong. Too late to know that my father had a knife, too late to know that my mother was going to die. The blade sunk into her stomach and my father cackled like a madman.
I rushed towards my mother, tears already flowing. The people, who had laughed along with my father, slowly disapparated from around me. They were practically transparent, holographic even, and I shoved passed them. My arms passed through their bodies as I rushed towards my mother.
“Mom!” I cried. When I got to her, she was on the floor and my father, and his blade, had vanished from sight.
This isn’t real, Annella. I pushed the thought to the back of my mind, who cares if it’s real? My mother is dying.
I dropped to my knees next to my mother and pressed my hands to her wounds.
“Mom, you can’t die,” I whispered. My Mom was never the kind of parent to really care about me, but she loved me. That’s what mattered. My Mother, who practically raised me on her own, who helped heal every cut and bruise, she was dying.
She was dying… and then all of the sudden, she wasn’t. Her pale face regained color and her eyes began to sparkle. My hands were radiating a sort of shimmering white light and her wounds disappeared. Then she faded, too.
For a moment, I was alone. This wasn’t so bad, I had saved my mother, I was a healing mage! For a moment, I thought it was over. But, then I saw it. The complete darkness was coming towards me. It came flying towards me, faster than I could even believe. It came, faster and faster, until I was completely consumed. I opened my eyes and realized I was in my old bedroom, Mush by my side. My sweet little Mush, his shaggy, carpet-like black, white, and grey fur rubbing against my skin. Suddenly, my door came flying open. My father was back, alone this time.
“You dirty, filthy, worthless halfborn!” He shouted at me, “I told your mother that I didn’t want no kids, rotten to the last hair on their heads all of ‘em.”
His Orleans Colony lilt came through, with his, ‘ems and his ‘no’s.’
“Dad? Dad, I’m sorry,” I murmured, but he was already gone.
I appeared in a field of tall grass. I hated it when I couldn’t see what was around me. I had good reason, too.
“Halfblood! Worthless, disgusting Cursed One!” Voices chorused together in different tones from all around me. I felt cornered.
This isn’t real! I reprimanded myself.
“I’m not a halfborn!” I yelled, “I’m not cursed, I have healing!”
“Halfborn.” Whispered one of the voices.
“Cursed one,” Murmured another.
A loud humming noise sounded all around, I spun around in the grass and began to run. The blades of grass were thick and supple, a more vibrant green than I had ever seen. They left thin cuts in my arms, that I could feel, but still barely noticed. I didn’t feel tired, but my legs suddenly gave out from underneath me.
“Worthless,” Another voice sounded.
“Halfborn.” Came another.
“You’re going to die!” One taunted.
I couldn’t take it. The voices wouldn’t stop. They all chorused around me repeating different words, that all managed to sound harmonic together. I began to scream, not even scream, so much as shriek. My hands covered my ears as the voices and the humming intensified.
This. Isn’t. REAL! I screamed, in my mind.
“I. Am. Not. A. Halfborn!” I screeched, I threw my hands down to the ground, slamming the dirt and some of the grass. I felt vibrations travel around me, suddenly water surrounded me. Singular drops, floating in free space around me. I could control it. I lifted my hand and began to shift the drops together, I tightened them together, as compact as I could. Then I released the water and it sprang apart, the drops landing like fallen rain.
I had water powers. I was a healing mage and a water mage.
I remembered what the Professor had told me. It’s just a room, and now I just have to find the door. The field disappeared from around me and I was back in the odd town-like setting I had been in before. I waded through all the people with agility. There was a shop door that read, “Academy.” I reached for the handle and stumbled out the door, but leaving the town made me dizzy. A rush ran through my brain and I collapsed. The boy that had been with Kallisto earlier carefully waltzed over with his oh-so-cool and calm expression. He held out his hand and I took it. He pulled me to my feet and smiled.
“Elle, right?” He seemed amused that I was so dazed.
“Um, yeah. You’re Finn, right?”
“Where’s Kalla? You’re her stalker, right?”
“No, but I do prefer to look out for her.”
“If you want to look out for, where is she?” I glowered at him and he backed away, causing me to trip forward. I tried to catch myself, but began to fall. I felt his hands around me as he pulled me back to my feet.
“Come on, I’ll help you to Kallisto.”
“Don’t call her that,” I muttered, “And I don’t need your help, Wonderboy.”
“You’re an illusion mage, and you’re mysterious. Therefore, I shall call you, ‘Wonderboy.’”
“You are not making any sense.”
“I’m going to find Kal.” I stated. I attempted to move away from Finn, but I couldn’t support myself. Before I could fall or stumble again, Finn put one arm under my shoulders and arms and his other arm under my knees. Pulling me off the ground.
“Put me down, you mysterious bastard!” I kicked my feet and spoke sternly.
“People are staring.” He said, smirking with amusement. Before I could reply, everything went dark.
When I woke up, I was in my room. Kal was in her bed, asleep. I pulled myself out of bed and onto my feet. My legs were shaky, and I could hardly stand. I felt terrible, I needed a serious pick-me-up. I hadn’t wanted to break into my ‘emergen-tea’ so early, but I felt that in this case it was acceptable. I went to the bathroom and turned the sink faucet as hot as I could. Surprisingly, it was piping, and perfect for my tea. I added some sugar - if only I had cream. I sat myself down on my bed, and glanced over at Kal. She stirred in her sleep, beginning to toss and turn. I sipped at my tea, just as she suddenly sat up, breathing heavily. She calmed herself quickly, regaining her total I-don’t-even-care attitude.
“Are you okay, Kal?” I glanced quizzically at her.
She shook her head, her eyes turning a coppery color. “I- I don’t- I mean, yeah. I’m fine,” she said quickly. “I’m okay.”
“Okay, I’m going to go try and shower,” I said, suspiciously. I paused for a moment, “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“You’re really nosy, you know that?” She raised her eyebrows. “Of course I’m fine. Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Never mind… By the way, I formally met Finn. He’s quite irritating, but I think he cares about you. For whatever reason.”
“He doesn’t,” she said instantly. “He’s just interested because of my powers, probably. I don’t think it ever crossed his mind to care about anybody.”
I smirked with amusement, wondering if his same look showed on my face, “How do you think you got here, Kal?” I said smugly. Before she could answer, I set my tea down and rushed to the bathroom.
The hot water was a comfort. With every drop, I could feel my illusions washing away. I moved to turn the faucet off, but paused. I stood under the steaming water, until I heard someone banging on the door.
“Get out already!” Kalla.
“Okay, okay, I’m coming!” I hollered back to Kal. I didn’t want to get out of the shower. The hot water felt comforting and helped me forget about my illusions. Reluctantly, I turned off the water. I dried off, wrapped my hair up, and put on a clean set of clothes. When I opened the door, I found Kal staring with impatience.
“You were saying something before you ran off and hid,” she remarked. “What was that all about?”
“It was about the fact that Finn carried you here. Me as well, actually.” I smiled complacently at Kal, waiting for her response.
“Great,” she sighed. “As if I need that freak to get even more involved in my life. He really doesn’t learn when to leave me alone,” she shook her head. “I’ll need to talk to him about that.” She glanced towards the door, as if she was considering going and finding him right now.
“If you’re going to go find him, I’m coming too. I’m going to thank him. You have no idea what he went through to get me here.” I laughed softly, remembering how uncooperative I had been. It was all fuzzy, but I remembered a little of it.
“Whatever,” Kal replied. She walked over to the door, and pulled it open, walking out into the hall with me following.
Finn was leaning against the wall, staring at something in his hands that was roughly the size of a basketball. He didn’t seem to notice us.
“Finn,” I said, breaking into his thoughts, “Hi,”
He jumped, turning to look at us, and shielding what he was holding with his arms. When he saw it was us, he rapidly composed himself, going back to his normal uncaring demeanor. “Oh, Hey. What is it this time?”
“Well, I wanted to thank you for helping me and Kal back to our room. I don’t know about her, but I’m certainly appreciative.” I put emphasis on Kal’s name, just to spite her. Anything to show her that she should be thankful, too.
Finn actually looked shocked. There was a bright flash of light, and whatever he’d been holding broke apart. He blinked in surprise, before looking back to me. “Thanks…” he glanced at Kal, who looked surprised. “Are you here to thank me too, or were you going to insult me before your friend cut you off?”
“No… I wasn’t going to… Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t going to thank you,” she added quickly, “But… I mean…” she hesitated. “Anyways. What were you looking at.”
“My test,” he replied matter-of-factly. “Sort of a recording. You made me lose focus, and I’ll have to get it back now. They make one for everybody, but being an illusion mage, I can re-create my own.”
Kal shuddered. “Why would you want to watch that?”
A smile crossed Finn’s face. “Scared of them, Kallisto?”
“First, I told you not to call me that! Second, no I’m not scared.”
“Yes, you are,” he said calmly.
“I’m not!” Kal snapped.
Finn sighed. “Whatever.”
“Both of you, that’s enough!” I said, throwing my arms in the air. As I did, Finn’s mouth formed a small, ‘No!’ And Kal gasped. Within seconds, both of them were drenched in water. Kalla scowled, water clinging to her dark eyelashes, and Finn began to laugh. I started to laugh, too, and soon enough, even Kalla was laughing.
“Flashy,” Finn grinned. “Not how I would have done it, but flashy.”
“Water, huh?” Kalla commented. “Nice.”
“I didn’t actually mean to. Really, I didn’t.” I laughed lightly, “But, yes, my powers are water and healing.”
“Cool,” Kalla smiled, attempting to wring out her hair. Finn just raised one of his eyebrows slightly at her, and the water began to run off the two of them, collecting in a puddle on the ground.
“Hey! What about me?” I scowled, joking.
“You can do it too,” Finn chuckled.
“Maybe so, but I don’t know how!” I giggled, but quickly stopped.
“Control,” he shrugged. “Everything is about control. There are two major parts to your powers- the unlocking of them, and supernova. Supernova is when a mage allows their powers to run completely out of control- usually with devastating effects. It can be a pretty terrible thing, but usually that’s how mages learn control. Some mages can manage it through training, but before they’re properly taught it’ll always explode in short bursts like that.”
“How do you know that much?” Kalla demanded.
His expression instantly became guarded. “No more questions.”
“Just don’t ask me!” He insisted. Just then, a girl entered the hallway. She stared at me, Kal, Finn and the puddles.
“Um, what happened here?” The girl said, I recognized her from somewhere, but just couldn’t place her name.
“Oh, it’s nothing. I’m sorry - what’s your name?” I asked, gazing at her. Her bright green eyes and dark hair looked so familiar, but I just couldn’t place it.
“Annella,” She smiled brightly, “It’s me, silly, Freya!”
“Oh, yeah. Silly me.” I laughed fakely. As soon as she said her name, it clicked. She was the girl that had spoken to me on the first day at the academy. I had been so distracted with Kallisto and Finn that I had almost forgotten about her.
“Okay, so, Freya - this is Finn,” I pointed towards Finn and he ignored Freya’s cheerful wave, “And this is Kalla. Or Kal, whichever you prefer.” I gestured to Kal and Freya beamed a smile at her. Kal gave an almost wave and a sort-of smile, just to be polite.
“We have to go,” I told her, as politely as I could. I didn’t want to hear her ramblings today. “We’ll see you in training, okay?”
“Okay,” she replied happily, “See you then!”
We left her in the hall and arrived in one of the academy common rooms, collapsing on the couches.